Heparin

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Heparin
Adult Indications & Dosage
Pediatric Indications & Dosage
Contraindications
Warnings & Precautions
Adverse Reactions
Drug Interactions
Use in Specific Populations
Administration & Monitoring
Overdosage
Pharmacology
Clinical Studies
How Supplied
Images
Patient Counseling Information
Precautions with Alcohol
Brand Names
Look-Alike Names

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Sheng Shi, M.D. [2]

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Overview

Heparin is an unfractionated heparin that is FDA approved for the treatment of atrial fibrillation and disseminated intravascular coagulation; It is used as a prophylaxis for pulmonary embolism, thrombosis,venous catheter occlusion and venous thromboembolism.. Common adverse reactions include thrombocytopenia and increased liver aminotransferase level.

Adult Indications and Dosage

FDA-Labeled Indications and Dosage (Adult)

Indications

  • Heparin Sodium Injection is indicated for:
  • Anticoagulant therapy in prophylaxis and treatment of venous thrombosis and its extension;
  • (In a low-dose regimen) for prevention of postoperative deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in patients undergoing major abdomino-thoracic surgery or who for other reasons are at risk of developing thromboembolic disease;
  • Prevention of clotting in arterial and heart surgery;
  • Prophylaxis and treatment of peripheral arterial embolism;
  • As an anticoagulant in blood transfusions, extracorporeal circulation, and dialysis procedures and in blood samples for laboratory purposes.

Dosage

  • Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration, whenever solution and container permit. Slight discoloration does not alter potency.
  • When heparin is added to an infusion solution for continuous intravenous administration, the container should be inverted at least six times to ensure adequate mixing and prevent pooling of the heparin in the solution.
  • Heparin sodium is not effective by oral administration and should be given by intermittent intravenous injection, intravenous infusion, or deep subcutaneous (intrafat, i.e., above the iliac crest or abdominal fat layer) injection. The intramuscular route of administration should be avoided because of the frequent occurrence of hematoma at the injection site.
  • The dosage of heparin sodium should be adjusted according to the patient's coagulation test results. When heparin is given by continuous intravenous infusion, the coagulation time should be determined approximately every 4 hours in the early stages of treatment. When the drug is administered intermittently by intravenous injection, coagulation tests should be performed before each injection during the early stages of treatment and at appropriate intervals thereafter. Dosage is considered adequate when the activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) is 1.5 to 2 times normal or when the whole blood clotting time is elevated approximately 2.5 to 3 times the control value. After deep subcutaneous (intrafat) injections, tests for adequacy of dosage are best performed on samples drawn 4–6 hours after the injections.
  • Periodic platelet counts, hematocrits, and tests for occult blood in stool are recommended during the entire course of heparin therapy, regardless of the route of administration.
  • Heparin Sodium Injection should not be mixed with doxorubicin, droperidol, ciprofloxacin, or mitoxantrone, since it has been reported that these drugs are incompatible with heparin and a precipitate may form.

Converting to Oral Anticoagulant

  • When an oral anticoagulant of the coumarin or similar type is to be begun in patients already receiving heparin sodium, baseline and subsequent tests of prothrombin activity must be determined at a time when heparin activity is too low to affect the prothrombin time. This is about 5 hours after the last I.V. bolus and 24 hours after the last subcutaneous dose. If continuous I.V. heparin infusion is used, prothrombin time can usually be measured at any time.
  • In converting from heparin to an oral anticoagulant, the dose of the oral anticoagulant should be the usual initial amount and thereafter prothrombin time should be determined at the usual intervals. To ensure continuous anticoagulation, it is advisable to continue full heparin therapy for several days after the prothrombin time has reached the therapeutic range. Heparin therapy may then be discontinued without tapering.

Therapeutic Anticoagulant Effect with Full-Dose Heparin

  • Although dosage must be adjusted for the individual patient according to the results of suitable laboratory tests, the following dosage schedules may be used as guidelines:
This image is provided by the National Library of Medicine.

Off-Label Use and Dosage (Adult)

Guideline-Supported Use

  • There is limited information regarding Off-Label Guideline-Supported Use of Heparin in adult patients.

Non–Guideline-Supported Use

  • There is limited information regarding Off-Label Non–Guideline-Supported Use of Heparin in adult patients.

Pediatric Indications and Dosage

FDA-Labeled Indications and Dosage (Pediatric)

Indications

  • Heparin Sodium Injection is indicated for:
  • Anticoagulant therapy in prophylaxis and treatment of venous thrombosis and its extension;
  • (In a low-dose regimen) for prevention of postoperative deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in patients undergoing major abdomino-thoracic surgery or who for other reasons are at risk of developing thromboembolic disease;
  • Prevention of clotting in arterial and heart surgery;
  • Prophylaxis and treatment of peripheral arterial embolism;
  • As an anticoagulant in blood transfusions, extracorporeal circulation, and dialysis procedures and in blood samples for laboratory purposes.

Dosage

  • Follow recommendations of appropriate pediatric reference texts. In general, the following dosage schedule may be used as a guideline:
  • Initial Dose:
  • 50 units/kg (I.V., drip)
  • Maintenance Dose:
  • 100 units/kg (I.V., drip) every four hours, or

20,000 units/M2/24 hours continuously

Off-Label Use and Dosage (Pediatric)

Guideline-Supported Use

  • There is limited information regarding Off-Label Guideline-Supported Use of Heparin in pediatric patients.

Non–Guideline-Supported Use

  • There is limited information regarding Off-Label Non–Guideline-Supported Use of Heparin in pediatric patients.

Contraindications

  • Heparin sodium should not be used in patients:
  • In whom suitable blood coagulation tests — e.g., the whole blood clotting time, partial thromboplastin time, etc. — cannot be performed at appropriate intervals (this contraindication refers to full-dose heparin; there is usually no need to monitor coagulation parameters in patients receiving low-dose heparin);

Warnings

  • Heparin is not intended for intramuscular use.
  • Hypersensitivity: Patients with documented hypersensitivity to heparin should be given the drug only in clearly life-threatening situations.
  • Hemorrhage: Hemorrhage can occur at virtually any site in patients receiving heparin. An unexplained fall in hematocrit, fall in blood pressure or any other unexplained symptom should lead to serious consideration of a hemorrhagic event.
  • Heparin sodium should be used with extreme caution in disease states in which there is increased danger of hemorrhage. Some of the conditions in which increased danger of hemorrhage exists are:
  • Surgical — During and immediately following (a) spinal tap or spinal anesthesia or (b) major surgery, especially involving the brain, spinal cord or eye.
  • Hematology — Conditions associated with increased bleeding tendencies, such as hemophilia, thrombocytopenia, and some vascular purpuras.
  • Gastrointestinal — Ulcerative lesions and continuous tube drainage of the stomach or small intestine.
  • Coagulation Testing: When heparin sodium is administered in therapeutic amounts, its dosage should be regulated by frequent blood coagulation tests. If the coagulation test is unduly prolonged or if hemorrhage occurs, heparin sodium should be discontinued promptly.
  • Thrombocytopenia: thrombocytopenia in patients receiving heparin has been reported at frequencies up to 30%. It can occur 2 to 20 days (average 5 to 9) following the onset of heparin therapy. Obtain platelet counts before and periodically during heparin therapy. Monitor thrombocytopenia of any degree closely. If the count falls below 100,000/mm3 or if recurrent thrombosis develops, promptly discontinue heparin, evaluate for HIT and HITT, and, if necessary, administer an alternative anticoagulant (see Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia and Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia and Thrombosis).
  • HIT and HITT can occur up to several weeks after the discontinuation of heparin therapy. Patients presenting with thrombocytopenia or thrombosis after discontinuation of heparin should be evaluated for HIT and HITT.
  • The intravenous administration of these solutions can cause fluid and/or solute overloading resulting in dilution of serum electrolyte concentrations, overhydration, congested states or pulmonary edema.
  • The risk of dilutional states is inversely proportional to the electrolyte concentrations of administered parenteral solutions. The risk of solute overload causing congested states with peripheral and pulmonary edema is directly proportional to the electrolyte concentrations of such solutions.
  • In patients with diminished renal function, administration of solutions containing sodium ions may result in sodium retention.
  • Excessive administration of potassium-free solutions may result in significant hypokalemia.
  • As the dosage of solutions of heparin sodium must be titrated to individual patient response, additive medications should not be delivered via this solution.

PRECAUTIONS

General

Heparin Resistance
Increased Risk to Older Patients, Especially Women
  • A higher incidence of bleeding has been reported in patients, particularly women, over 60 years of age.
  • Laboratory Tests: Periodic platelet counts, hematocrits and tests for occult blood in stool are recommended during the entire course of heparin therapy, regardless of the route of administration.

Adverse Reactions

Clinical Trials Experience

  • Hemorrhage: Hemorrhage is the chief complication that may result from heparin therapy. An overly prolonged clotting time or minor bleeding during therapy can usually be controlled by withdrawing the drug. It should be appreciated that gastrointestinal or urinary tract bleeding during anticoagulant therapy may indicate the presence of an underlying occult lesion. Bleeding can occur at any site but certain specific hemorrhagic complications may be difficult to detect:
  • Adrenal hemorrhage, with resultant acute adrenal insufficiency, has occurred during anticoagulant therapy. Therefore, such treatment should be discontinued in patients who develop signs and symptoms of acute adrenal hemorrhage and insufficiency. Initiation of corrective therapy should not depend on laboratory confirmation of the diagnosis, since any delay in an acute situation may result in the patient’s death.
  • Ovarian (corpus luteum) hemorrhage developed in a number of women of reproductive age receiving short- or long-term anticoagulant therapy. This complication if unrecognized may be fatal.
  • Retroperitoneal hemorrhage.
  • Local Irritation: Local irritation, erythema, mild pain, hematoma or ulceration may follow deep subcutaneous (intrafat) injection of heparin sodium. These complications are much more common after intramuscular use, and such use is not recommended.
  • Thrombocytopenia has been reported to occur in patients receiving heparin with a reported incidence of 0 to 30%. While often mild and of no obvious clinical significance, such thrombocytopenia can be accompanied by severe thromboembolic complications such as skin necrosis, gangrene of the extremities that may lead to amputation, myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, stroke, and possibly death.
  • Certain episodes of painful, ischemic and cyanosed limbs have in the past been attributed to allergic vasospastic reactions. Whether these are in fact identical to the thrombocytopenia associated complications remains to be determined.
  • Miscellaneous: Osteoporosis following long-term administration of high doses of heparin, cutaneous necrosis after systemic administration, suppression of aldosterone synthesis, delayed transient alopecia, priapism and rebound hyperlipemia on discontinuation of heparin sodium have also been reported.
  • Significant elevations of aminotransferase (SGOT [S-AST] and SGPT [S-ALT]) levels have occurred in a high percentage of patients (and healthy subjects) who have received heparin.
  • Reactions which may occur because of the solution or the technique of administration include febrile response, infection at the site of injection, venous thrombosis or phlebitis extending from the site of injection, extravasation and hypervolemia.
  • If an adverse reaction does occur, discontinue the infusion, evaluate the patient, institute appropriate therapeutic countermeasures and save the remainder of the fluid for examination if deemed necessary.

Postmarketing Experience

  • FDA Package Insert for Heparin contains no information regarding post marketing Adverse Reactions.

Drug Interactions

Oral anticoagulants: Heparin sodium may prolong the one-stage prothrombin time. Therefore, when heparin sodium is given with dicumarol or warfarin sodium, a period of at least 5 hours after the last intravenous dose should elapse before blood is drawn if a valid PROTHROMBIN time is to be obtained.

Platelet inhibitors: Drugs such as acetylsalicylic acid, dextran, phenylbutazone, ibuprofen, indomethacin, dipyridamole, hydroxychloroquine and others that interfere with platelet-aggregation reactions (the main hemostatic defense of heparinized patients) may induce bleeding and should be used with caution in patients receiving heparin sodium.

Other interactions: Digitalis, tetracyclines, nicotine, or antihistamines may partially counteract the anticoagulant action of heparin sodium.

Use in Specific Populations

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category (FDA): C

  • There are no adequate and well-controlled studies on heparin use in pregnant women. In published reports, heparin exposure during pregnancy did not show evidence of an increased risk of adverse maternal or fetal outcomes in humans. Heparin sodium does not cross the placenta, based on human and animal studies. Administration of heparin to pregnant animals at doses higher than the maximum human daily dose based on body weight resulted in increased resorptions. Use heparin sodium during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
  • In a published study conducted in rats and rabbits, pregnant animals received heparin intravenously during organogenesis at a dose of 10,000 units/kg/day, approximately 10 times the maximum human daily dose based on body weight. The number of early resorptions increased in both species.
  • There was no evidence of teratogenic effects.


Pregnancy Category (AUS): There is no Australian Drug Evaluation Committee (ADEC) guidance on usage of Heparin in women who are pregnant.

Labor and Delivery

  • Due to its large molecular weight, heparin is not likely to be excreted in human milk, and any heparin in milk would not be orally absorbed by a nursing infant. Exercise caution when administering Heparin Sodium to a nursing mother.

Nursing Mothers

There is no FDA guidance on the use of Heparin in women who are nursing.

Pediatric Use

  • There are no adequate and well controlled studies on heparin use in pediatric patients. Pediatric dosing recommendations are based on clinical experience.

Geriatic Use

  • A higher incidence of bleeding has been reported in patients over 60 years of age, especially women (see PRECAUTIONS, General). Clinical studies indicate that lower doses of heparin may be indicated in these patients.

Gender

  • There is no FDA guidance on the use of Heparin with respect to specific gender populations.

Race

  • There is no FDA guidance on the use of Heparin with respect to specific racial populations.

Renal Impairment

  • There is no FDA guidance on the use of Heparin in patients with renal impairment.

Hepatic Impairment

  • There is no FDA guidance on the use of Heparin in patients with hepatic impairment.

Females of Reproductive Potential and Males

  • There is no FDA guidance on the use of Heparin in women of reproductive potentials and males.

Immunocompromised Patients

  • There is no FDA guidance one the use of Heparin in patients who are immunocompromised.

Others

Administration and Monitoring

Administration

  • Intravenous
  • Subcutaneous

Monitoring

  • FDA Package Insert for Heparin contains no information regarding drug monitoring.

IV Compatibility

  • There is limited information about the IV Compatibility.

Overdosage

  • Symptoms: Bleeding is the chief sign of heparin overdosage. Nosebleeds, blood in urine or tarry stools may be noted as the first sign of bleeding. Easy bruising or petechial formations may precede frank bleeding.
  • Treatment: Neutralization of heparin effect.
  • When clinical circumstances (bleeding) require reversal of heparinization, protamine sulfate (1% solution) by slow infusion will neutralize heparin sodium. No more than 50 mg should be administered, very slowly in any 10 minute period. Each mg of protamine sulfate neutralizes approximately 100 USP units. The amount of protamine required decreases over time as heparin is metabolized. Although the metabolism of heparin is complex, it may, for the purpose of choosing a protamine dose, be assumed to have a half-life of about ½ hour after intravenous injection.
  • Administration of protamine sulfate can cause severe hypotensive and anaphylactoid reactions. Because fatal reactions often resembling anaphylaxis have been reported, the drug should be given only when resuscitation techniques and treatment of anaphylactoid shock are readily available.
  • For additional information, the labeling of Protamine Sulfate Injection, USP products should be consulted.
  • In the event of overhydration or solute overload, re-evaluate the patient and institute appropriate corrective measures.

Pharmacology

Heparin ball-and-stick.png
Heparin-3D-vdW.png
Heparin
Systematic (IUPAC) name
see Heparin structure
Identifiers
CAS number 9005-49-6
ATC code B01AB01 C05BA03 (WHO) S01XA14 (WHO)
PubChem 772
DrugBank DB01109
Chemical data
Formula C12H19NO20S3 
Mol. mass 12000–15000 g/mol
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability erratic
Metabolism hepatic
Half life 1.5 hrs
Excretion urine[1]
Therapeutic considerations
Pregnancy cat.

C[2]

Legal status

Prescription (US)

Routes i.v., s.c.

Mechanism of Action

  • There is limited information about the mechanism of action.

Structure

  • Intravenous solutions with heparin sodium (derived from porcine intestinal mucosa) are sterile, nonpyrogenic fluids for intravenous administration. They contain no bacteriostat or antimicrobial agent or added buffer. Edetate disodium, anhydrous is added as a stabilizer. The solution may contain sodium hydroxide and/or hydrochloric acid for pH adjustment. See Table for summary of contents and characteristics of these solutions.
  • Heparin Sodium, USP is a heterogenous group of straight-chain anionic mucopolysaccharides, called glycosaminoglycans having anticoagulant properties. Although others may be present, the main sugars occurring in heparin are: (1) α- L-iduronic acid 2-sulfate, (2) 2-deoxy-2-sulfamino-α-D-glucose 6-sulfate, (3) β-D-glucuronic acid, (4) 2-acetamido-2-deoxy-α-D-glucose, and (5) α-L-iduronic acid. These sugars are present in decreasing amounts, usually in the order (2) > (1) > (4) > (3) > (5), and are joined by glycosidic linkages, forming polymers of varying sizes. Heparin is strongly acidic because of its content of covalently linked sulfate and carboxylic acid groups. In heparin sodium, the acidic protons of the sulfate units are partially replaced by sodium ions. The potency is determined by a biological assay using a USP reference standard based on units of heparin activity per milligram.
  • Structure of Heparin Sodium (representative subunits):
This image is provided by the National Library of Medicine.
  • Sodium Chloride, USP is chemically designated NaCl, a white crystalline compound freely soluble in water.

Water for Injection, USP is chemically designated H2O.

  • The flexible plastic container is fabricated from a specially formulated polyvinyl chloride. Water can permeate from inside the container into the overwrap but not in amounts sufficient to affect the solution significantly. Solutions inside the plastic container also can leach out certain of its chemical components in very small amounts before the expiration period is attained. However, the safety of the plastic has been confirmed by tests in animals according to USP biological standards for plastic containers.

Pharmacodynamics

  • Heparin inhibits reactions that lead to the clotting of blood and the formation of fibrin clots both in vitro and in vivo. Heparin acts at multiple sites in the normal coagulation system. Small amounts of heparin in combination with antithrombin III (heparin cofactor) can inhibit thrombosis by inactivating activated Factor X and inhibiting the conversion of prothrombin to thrombin. Once active thrombosis has developed, larger amounts of heparin can inhibit further coagulation by inactivating thrombin and preventing the conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin. Heparin also prevents the formation of a stable fibrin clot in inhibiting the activation of the fibrin stabilizing factor.
  • Bleeding time is usually unaffected by heparin. Clotting time is prolonged by full therapeutic doses of heparin; in most cases, it is not measurably affected by low doses of heparin.
  • Patients over 60 years of age, following similar doses of heparin, may have higher plasma levels of heparin and longer activated partial thromboplastin times (APTTs) compared with patients under 60 years of age.
  • Peak plasma levels of heparin are achieved 2 to 4 hours following subcutaneous administration, although there are considerable individual variations. Loglinear plots of heparin plasma concentrations with time for a wide range of dose levels are linear which suggests the absence of zero order processes. Liver and the reticuloendothelial system are the site of biotransformation. The biphasic elimination curve, a rapidly declining alpha phase (t½ = 10 min) and after the age of 40 a slower beta phase, indicates uptake in organs. The absence of a relationship between anticoagulant half-life and concentration half-life may reflect factors such as protein binding of heparin.
  • Heparin does not have fibrinolytic activity; therefore, it will not lyse existing clots.

Pharmacokinetics

  • Hypotonic concentrations of sodium chloride are suited for parenteral maintenance of water requirements when only small quantities of salt are desired.
  • Sodium chloride in water dissociates to provide sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl¯) ions. Sodium (Na+) is the principal cation of the extracellular fluid and plays a large part in the therapy of fluid and electrolyte disturbances. Chloride (Cl¯) has an integral role in buffering action when oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange occurs in the red blood cells. The distribution and excretion of sodium (Na+) are largely under the control of the kidney which maintains a balance between intake and output.
  • Water is an essential constituent of all body tissues and accounts for approximately 70% of total body weight.
  • Average normal adult daily requirements range from two to three liters (1.0 to 1.5 liters each for insensible water loss by perspiration and urine production).
  • Water balance is maintained by various regulatory mechanisms. Water distribution depends primarily on the concentration of electrolytes in the body compartments and sodium (Na+) plays a major role in maintaining physiologic equilibrium.

Nonclinical Toxicology

  • Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility: No long-term studies in animals have been performed to evaluate carcinogenic potential of heparin. Also, no reproduction studies in animals have been performed concerning mutagenesis or impairment of fertility.

Clinical Studies

FDA Package Insert for Heparin contains no information regarding Clinical Studies.

How Supplied

  • Intravenous solutions with heparin sodium are available in single-dose flexible plastic containers in varied sizes and concentrations as shown in the accompanying Table as follows:
This image is provided by the National Library of Medicine.

For the above Heparin Sodium products the pH range is 6.1 (5.0 – 7.5) and the osmolarity mOsmol/L (calc.) is 155.

Storage

  • Store at 20 to 25°C (68 to 77°F).Protect from freezing.

Images

Drug Images

Package and Label Display Panel

Heparin label 01.jpg
This image of the FDA label is provided by the National Library of Medicine.
Heparin label 02.jpg
This image of the FDA label is provided by the National Library of Medicine.
Heparin panel 01.png
This image of the FDA label is provided by the National Library of Medicine.
Heparin panel 02.png
This image of the FDA label is provided by the National Library of Medicine.

Patient Counseling Information

  • FDA Package Insert for Heparin contains no information regarding Patient information.

Precautions with Alcohol

  • Alcohol-Heparin interaction has not been established. Talk to your doctor about the effects of taking alcohol with this medication.

Brand Names

  • Heparin sodium

Look-Alike Drug Names

There is limited information regarding Heparin Look-Alike Drug Names in the drug label.

Drug Shortage Status

Price

References

The contents of this FDA label are provided by the National Library of Medicine.

  1. heparin. In: Lexi-Drugs Online [database on the Internet]. Hudson (OH): Lexi-Comp, Inc.; 2007 [cited 2/10/12]. Available from: http://online.lexi.com. subscription required to view.
  2. Heparin Sodium injection

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